Malawi government has directed all its cabinet ministers to immediately relinquish their official Mercedes Benz vehicles so that they are used by the top visiting delegates during the 15th summit of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The vehicles will specifically be used by the heads of State and Government, vice presidents and one prime minister.
Minister of Finance, Ken Lipenga said the cabinet ministers have been asked to surrender their vehicles to enable government provide the visiting heads decent transportation.
“Cabinet ministers have indeed been ordered to surrender their official vehicles because we want to provide proper transportation to the Heads of State and Government,” Lipenga said on Tuesday.
Over 800 delegates from the business community from Africa and beyond are attending the COMESA Summit which started on October 4 in Lilongwe and is expected to reach its climax with the meeting of Heads of State and Government on 14th and 15th October.
So far reports indicate, only six presidents out of the 19 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa will be in attendance. These include Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Swaziland’s King Mswati III, Eritria’s Isaias Afwerki, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the host Bingu wa Mutharika.
Four countries will be represented by their deputy presidents- Kenya (Kalonzo Musyoka), Zambia (Guy Scot), Seychelles (Danny Faure) and Comoros while Djibouti will send Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita.
At the end of the Summit, Malawi will assume the chairmanship of COMESA taking over from Swaziland.
Since the summit started on October 4, a number of high level meetings have taken place such as the 29th Meeting of the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters, the 29th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee the 29th Meeting of the Council of Ministers and the Seventh COMESA Business Forum.
Others include the 11th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs which is taking place today (12 October) while the 16th First Ladies Roundtable will be held on Thursday, 14 October, the same day the two-day 15th Summit of Heads of State and Government will start.